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7-party meet : Parties failed to find solutions; Madhesi parties threaten to boycott phase ii elections

KATHMANDU —  A meeting of seven parties, including the three major parties, failed to forge consensus on constitutional issues and issues relating to the second phase of local level polls.

The meeting was called by the Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal at the Prime Minister’s official residence, Baluwatar on Friday to discuss on the issues, such as, the constitution amendment bill, increasing the number of local units in tarai districts as demanded by various Madhes-based political parties. However, it failed to make any headways.

The Prime Minister urged political leaders to forge consensus on issues related to the constitution amendment bill, the number of local levels, the second phase of elections and the budget,according to a press release issued by the Prime Minister’s Secretariat.

But, leaders from Rastriya Janta Party Nepal (RJPN), recently formed by 6 Madhes-based parties, stood rigid on their demand for increasing the number of local units in Tarai-Madhes districts while the main opposition CPN-UML strongly opposed on any such decision ahead of the local elections was unacceptable.

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Deputy Parliamentary Party Leader of CPN-UML Subas Chandra Nembang said his party leaders reiterated that they were not in favour of discussing contents of the constitution amendment bill or increasing the number of local levels before the second phase of elections.

“It will be against the election code of conduct to increase the number of local levels after the first phase of polls,” Nembang said adding, “If the number of local levels had to be increased then it should be done nationwide and not only for 20 districts of Madhes.”

He said the UML leaders were ready to discuss constitutional issues and the issues relating to increasing the number of local levels after the second phase of elections.

After UML oipposed the Madhes based parties, leaders from the ruling parties requested the Madhesi leaders to participate in the elections, according to Bikram Pandey, general secretary of Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP).

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“But the Madhesi leaders reiterated that they wouldn’t join elections without first amending the constitution, Pandey said.

“The meeting then concluded without any progress.”

Earlier, the RJPN and the Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal (FSF-N)  leaders met the government panel formed to recommend increase in the number of local levels and demanded that the number of local levels should be proportional to the population of Madhes.

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba, Deupty Prime Minister and Home Minister Bimalendra Nidhi, Deupty Prime MInister and Local Development Minister Bijaya Gachhadar, CPN-UML Vice Chairma Subas Nembang, Leader Bhim Rawal, Maosit leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha, NC leader Ram Chandra Poudel, RPP leaders Bikram Pandey, Sunila Bahadur Thapa, RJPN leaders Mahantha Thakur, Rajendra Mahato, Anil Kumar Jha; FSF-N leader Ashok Kumar Rai were present ar the meeting.